Blockbuster adds games to by-mail rental program

Total Access service will be expanded in the second quarter so those willing to pay extra $5 per month can get games from current consoles, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.

GameFly is getting a new competitor in the by-mail gaming rental business. Rental chain Blockbuster today announced that it is expanding its Total Access by-mail rental program to include games in addition to the DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and HD-DVDs it currently offers.

Previously dominant in the rental space, Blockbuster has had its hands full dealing with Netflix and GameFly.

Blockbuster's game rentals will be available to all of its mail-order customers nationwide in the second quarter of the year, with a catalog of offerings spanning the Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and the original Xbox. As with the existing Total Access program, subscribers will be able to exchange games at Blockbuster retail locations for free movie rentals or half-price game rentals a limited number of times (which varies by subscription package).

Games are becoming increasingly intertwined with the home movie business. Users can already rent or purchase films and TV shows through their Xbox 360s and PS3s, and by-mail movie rental service Netflix has partnered with Microsoft to allow its subscribers to stream a portion of its library through the Xbox 360.

Despite the enhanced competition in the market of late, Blockbuster still boasts that it rents more games in the US than anybody else, in-store or online.

[UPDATE]: A Blockbuster representative clarified details of the program for GameSpot.

"During the test, we plan to charge subscribers a flat $4.99 for each month that they have a video game or games out from our by-mail service," the representative said. "If you don't take any game(s) out via the mail on your subscription in a given month, there's no charge. In-store movie exchanges will continue to be free, according to the Blockbuster Total Access plan, and games will continue to be discounted at $4.99."

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Discussion

35 comments
gamer082009
gamer082009

Why do I have the feeling that Blockbuster will have no games available for rent? Most people are gonna see the message "OUT OF STOCK" in their *Q*...

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

In my country I have not choice but to buy (pure rental is illegal). The only alternative is "controlled rental by dowbnload" but that works only on PC and it is way too hard on my PC.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Yes!! I'm switching from Netflix to Blockbuster. Now I don't have to pay full price just to check out certain games I'm not to sure about.

chapan17
chapan17

agreed with merl, i buy games too... dont like renting that much... like owning and then reselling if possible. beeh..

Xaviersx
Xaviersx

Now if Gamefly and Netflix were to merge, emerge as a single entity to take on BlockBuster, it'd be an interesting attack back. Heck, throw in Sirus satellite before they go bust, maybe that beast could humble Blockbuster. Maybe not.

Merl57
Merl57

smart move, but I buy every game :( dumb with money but I like owning them

lewser5
lewser5

Took them long enough, now i am wondering if this is worth it?

halomonkey1_3_5
halomonkey1_3_5

Gamefly better stop wasting their money on crappy advertisements and better start using it to turn them selves into a functioning service if they want to do better the BB...or else i see them going down sometime next year...

umbrae
umbrae

I had horrible experiences with Netflix, but the 360 thing has been interesting. However, this will keep me at Blockbuster. I wonder why it took them so long. However, the $4.99 charge is lame.

ocdog45
ocdog45

sticking to gamefly no thanks.

StreetRacer91
StreetRacer91

I like Netflix for movies better. They seemed quicker and more reliable than Blockbuster in my experience with both delivery services.

Khimarhi
Khimarhi

ChamomileBaths posted: "Get an online download service for movies going, like Netflix, and they're set. It's all-in-one. You'll satisfy parents, kids, and internet users." Blockbuster does have an ondemand service. You can rent a movie at home starting at 1.99. They just have to add this to their monthly plan.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Netflix needs to rent out games already... I would love to 'stream' one to my X360... that would be awesome.

yinyang3
yinyang3

If Sony does work with Blockbuster then they would become more powerful than we could possibly imagine... *dum dum dum!*

lamprey263
lamprey263

this will be interesting though because I hear Blockbuster is trying to do what Microsoft and Netflix did on the X360 and make a Blockbuster movie streaming feature on the PS3, if subscribing to both features at once is cheap this could be a popular feature

yinyang3
yinyang3

What Netflix needs to do is buy out Game Fly and actually turn that into a company that works correctly. Blockbuster's service online has always sucked and this doesn't change anything for me, but if Netflix doesn't watch out then this could mean the 2nd coming of Blockbuster.

Kuruption84
Kuruption84

Sold. I've always like their service, I'm signing up as soon as this happens.

okassar
okassar

Great news,I love competition--but where are the prices?

rangers8489
rangers8489

It will be your total access price+$4.99 just in case anyone does not understand. The pilot program starts pretty soon and will take place in one part of the country. The real thing rolls out the second half of the year. If anyone is capable of doing this right its blockbuster, but it will be interesting to see if they can. They already have gamefly beat with more DCs then them, which means faster return times.

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

Competition is always a good thing

lamprey263
lamprey263

I used to use the Blockbuster mail program, stopped because absolutely nothing in my top 10 queue ever came, it was always movies like my 28th or 40th pick

TheGreatGuero
TheGreatGuero

Awesome. I'm very happy to hear this. Now I might be able to get my hands on games my local Blockbuster has never carried. I'm also very pleased that it covers the PS2 and Xbox, so I can go back and play some older games that I've missed. It is a little shocking to me that Gamecube isn't included, especially since all the games are fully compatible with the Wii.

Jonnyd108
Jonnyd108

Nice, if the price is nice I'd definitely switch over from Netflix. Gamefly's selection is absolute crap. Every game on their Xbox360 list has a wait.

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

Get an online download service for movies going, like Netflix, and they're set. It's all-in-one. You'll satisfy parents, kids, and internet users.

shoeman12
shoeman12

i wonder if it's included with the movie subscription. probably not.

jmartinez1983
jmartinez1983

What we really need is something like the old Sega Channel. We pay a monthly fee and we can play all the games we want. Bam, everyone wins! Gamefly is a great service, but its still really hard to get popular games at times. Been trying to get Dead Space for over a month with no luck.

somberfox
somberfox

Unfortunately Blockbuster has always had a sparse selection of games. They'd need to vastly expand their library to even have a chance at competing with Gamefly.

RossRichard
RossRichard

For someone like me who has both Netflix and Gamefly accounts, this is huge. Im actually surprised they didnt decide to do this sooner.

xJackelx
xJackelx

While I'm a Gamefly/Netflix member myself, I'm always on the lookout for any Game rental service that can manage to receive, process, and ship me my games within 7 days. On Average I wait the full 7 days for GameFly to process and ship my next title.

AZisBack
AZisBack

This is pretty big news. I am personally a big fan of Netflix and Gamefly. With this news blockbuster has the possibility of getting my business. I will wait and see if they could get a selection as good as GameFly.

InfectX
InfectX

Sweet, I can't wait to have my games available for renting for 3 weeks until they sell them all. At least GameFly has an actual library.

hawaiiinsomniac
hawaiiinsomniac

This is awesome! I hope they keep the policy where you can return a game to a store and get another one, right then and there!

Fanboy4Hire
Fanboy4Hire

Gamefly rarely has high demand releases available. If BB can keep a decent stock of good games at high availability, I may switch over.